Albums

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Symphonies - Released July 6, 2018 | Decca

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Symphonies - Released June 8, 2018 | Decca

Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Ballets - Released May 11, 2018 | Decca

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Vocal Jazz - Released December 28, 1955 | Decca

Jeri Southern's second Decca session strips her music of pretense and artifice in favor of an unflinching honesty that crawls deep under the listener's skin. With its austere rhythmic backdrops and melancholy textures, The Southern Style casts a stark spotlight squarely on Southern's intimate vocals, and she responds with some of the most deeply felt performances of her career -- the nuance and depth she invests in songs like "One Day I Wrote His Name Upon the Sand" and "I Don't Know Where to Turn" are nothing short of remarkable. This is a record made for and by adults, articulating emotions and delineating experiences lost on the young. ~ Jason Ankeny
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Symphonies - Released November 1, 2016 | Decca

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte - Choc de Classica
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1999 | Decca

Dream Street captures Peggy Lee at her most intimate and melancholy -- a song cycle exploring love and loss in uncompromisingly frank terms, it strips away the saccharine and schmaltz so common among the singer's Decca sessions to effectively create the first truly adult music of her career. Lee occupies the same harrowing emotional territory staked out by Frank Sinatra via the landmark In the Wee Small Hours, investing the material with the kind of heartbreak and longing that belies the whole "easy listening" tag -- this is music shorn of pretense and artifice, as intense as a primal scream yet beautiful in the way only art of this magnitude can be. ~ Jason Ankeny
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Decca

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Symphonies - Released January 1, 2009 | Decca

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MiG

Rock - Released January 1, 2007 | Decca

Australian vocalist Mig Ayesa's solo piano take of Peter Frampton's '70s über-ballad "Baby, I Love Your Way" was a welcome surprise on the 2004 CBS reality competition Rock Star: INXS. As the rest of the contestants oversang, writhed on-stage, and generally schlocked things up, Ayesa stripped back his approach and let his boyish charm and soft vocals make the most of Frampton's popular if somewhat unfairly critically maligned hit. The move helped propel him into the final three on the show, although he ultimately was not picked to be the new lead singer of the rock band INXS. Frankly, with his yearning, high-pitched voice more suitable for Coldplay-style alt-rock and Eric Carmen-esque AOR than straightforward rock and funk, Ayesa was never a good fit for the '80s Aussie icons. Which is why Ayesa's 2007 solo debut album, Mig, comes as a pleasant surprise. Playing as a better-produced version of the Mig viewers saw on Rock Star, the album finds Ayesa not only revisiting his now trademark "Baby, I Love Your Way" -- which features Frampton on guitar -- but also other superbly chosen cover tunes such as the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset," the Police's "Wrapped Around Your Finger," and the Rolling Stones' "Angie." These are impeccably produced arrangements that frame Ayesa's pleasing vocals with tasteful orchestration and enough electric muscle to give the proceedings a bit a glam rock sheen. If his take on David Bowie's "Life on Mars" is a bit too close to the original, it only serves to point out how covers-heavy the album is. That said, the few Ayesa originals included here, such as the sweeping, bright pop anthem "She Loved" and the Raspberries-influenced power ballad "You and I," are as memorable and engaging as anything else on the album. In that sense, Mig reveals Ayesa -- pictured with his large mop of shiny black hair and action-figure outfits -- as a kind of contemporary anime lounge singer ready to do battle with giant rock opera robots and sweep his princess away in his piano starship. ~ Matt Collar
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Classical - Released January 1, 2006 | Decca

Booklet
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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2004 | Decca

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Peggy Lee left Capitol in 1952 for, among several other reasons, the label's refusal to let her record and release an exotic, tumultuous version of "Lover." Lee was certainly no Mitch Miller songbird, content to loosen her gorgeous pipes on any piece of tripe foisted upon her; she was a superb songwriter with a knowledge of production and arrangement gained from work in big bands and from her husband, Dave Barbour (although the two weren't together at the time). The more open-minded Decca acquiesced to her demand, and watched its investment pay off quickly when the single became her biggest hit in years. Black Coffee was Lee's next major project. Encouraged by longtime Decca A&R Milt Gabler, she hired a small group including trumpeter Pete Candoli and pianist Jimmy Rowles (two of her favorite sidemen) to record an after-hours jazz project similar in intent and execution to Lee Wiley's "Manhattan project" of 1950, Night in Manhattan. While the title-track opener of Black Coffee soon separated itself from the LP -- to be taught forever after during the first period of any Torch Song 101 class -- the album doesn't keep to its concept very long; Lee is soon enough in a bouncy mood for "I've Got You Under My Skin" and very affectionate on "Easy Living." (If there's a concept at work here, it's the vagaries of love.) Listeners should look instead to "It Ain't Necessarily So" or "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You?" for more examples of Lee's quintessentially slow-burn sultriness. Aside from occasionally straying off-concept, however, Black Coffee is an excellent record, spotlighting Lee's ability to shine with every type of group and in any context. [When originally recorded and released in 1953, Black Coffee was an eight-song catalog of 78s. Three years later, Decca commissioned an LP expansion of the record, for which Lee recorded several more songs. The 2004 Verve edition is therefore a reissue of the 1956 12-song LP.] ~ John Bush
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Solo Piano - Released January 1, 2001 | Decca

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 2001 | Decca

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
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Traditional Jazz & New Orleans - Released January 1, 1957 | Decca

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This obscure set by Louis Armstrong has its strange appeal. The great trumpeter/vocalist performs a dozen songs, all of which have "heaven" or "angel" in their title or lyrics, while backed by the Sy Oliver Orchestra plus a heavenly female choir. Satch gets off a few good trumpet solos and is quite cheerful throughout, even joking during "The Prisoner's Song" when the word "angel" finally shows up. Among the highlights are "When Did You Leave Heaven," "I Married An Angel" and "I'll String Along With You." Although more commercial than Armstrong's usual recordings of the era, this set is more memorable than one would expect and is worth searching for. ~ Scott Yanow
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Classical - Released January 1, 2001 | Decca

The sweeping, piano-driven sounds of David Lanz approach the 20-year mark on Finding Paradise, his 2002 release. With his usual sentimental arrangements and crew of session musicians, this is exactly what one would expect from a David Lanz album. This could have been made in 1987 or in 1995 -- it has the timeless sound of smooth jazz and new age that has become a favorite of waiting rooms and grocery stores around the country. Lanz is an acquired taste, but fans of the Kenny G/Najee school of music should find this to be a fine addition to their collections. ~ Bradley Torreano
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Traditional Jazz & New Orleans - Released January 1, 2000 | Decca

This eight-song LP is an excellent studio representation of Louis Armstrong & the All-Stars at work in their prime as a nostalgia act. And just because they were a nostalgia act didn't mean they didn't push the envelope given half a chance, as these recordings did. The personnel list is impressive on its own terms, with Jack Teagarden, Earl Hines, and Barney Bigard together in the small group stretching out on "Twelfth Street Rag," and if the later incarnations of the group aren't as eye-catching in their personnel, they're every bit as much of a pleasure to hear on "Skokiaan" (aka "South African Song"), "Frog-I-More Rag," or the title tune. Pianist Billy Kyle gets the spotlight for a chunk of the extended jam of "Otchi-Tchor-Ni-Ya" before Peanuts Hucko and Eddie Miller take center stage on clarinet and tenor sax. The medley of "Tenderly"/"You'll Never Walk Alone" shows off the elegant side of the ensemble's playing and makes a good contrast with the jauntier traditional Dixieland sound on most of the disc. ~ Bruce Eder
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Classical - Released January 1, 1999 | Decca

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Classical - Released January 1, 1980 | Decca

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Classical - Released January 1, 1998 | Decca

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Classical - Released January 1, 1998 | Decca

The Collections

Label

Decca in the magazine